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Peter Buchan (1790-1854) - Ballad Collector

He was born in Peterhead and, after a rudimentary education, trained as a printer in Edinburgh. In 1816 he returned to his home town and set himself up in business as a printer, but an expensive lawsuit in 1852 forced him to retire to live in Leitrim, Ireland, and he died on 19 September 1854 while on a visit to London. Buchan's fame rests on his collection of over 40 north-east ballads, which he published in 1828 as Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland. A later collection, Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads, appeared in 1845. He also published several collections of minor verse and pro-Tory pamphlets, but these are negligible in comparison with the painstaking work of his collections of ballads from oral sources.

Works: Songs and Verses in the Scottish Dialect (1814); Annals of Peterhead (1819); An Historical Account of the Ancient Earls of Keith (1820); ed., Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland (1828); The Peterhead Smugglers of the Last Century (1834); The Eglintoun Tournament and Gentlemen Unmasked (1839); An Account of the Chivalry of the Ancients (1840); ed., Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads (1845); Man: Body and Soul (1849).

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